17 Coolest Things to Do in Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is Tennessee’s capital and is situated on the Cumberland River in the heart of the state. Because of its reproduction of the Parthenon and numerous universities and colleges, it is known as the “Athens of the South.”

Nashville, which was founded in 1779, gained a reputation as the capital of country music about a century ago when a radio station dedicated to the Grand Ole Opry was established. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Music Row are currently located in the city. The Music City Walk of Fame, located on Nashville’s “Music Mile,” is one of the most popular music-themed pathways.

Continue walking to one of Nashville’s greenway pathways, including the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge and the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge, which span the Cumberland River. Bicentennial Capitol Mall is another popular site and walking spot. Get a drink and a snack at the nearby Nashville Farmers Market.

The city serves as a base for exploring the remainder of Tennessee. Many historical places, such as old plantations and Civil War battlefields, are only a half-hour drive away. There are numerous hiking paths in and around Nashville that provide an opportunity to get some exercise.

With this list of attractions and activities to do in Nashville, you can learn about the greatest spots to visit.

1. Grand Ole Opry

Grand Ole Opry

The city serves as a base for exploring the remainder of Tennessee. Many historical places, such as old plantations and Civil War battlefields, are only a half-hour drive away. There are numerous hiking paths in and around Nashville that provide an opportunity to get some exercise.

With this list of attractions and activities to do in Nashville, you can learn about the greatest spots to visit.

Attend one of the broadcasts to join in the fun. To guarantee your seat and free parking at the neighboring Opry Mills Mall, purchase your Grand Ole Opry Show Admission Ticket in Nashville in advance. Consider taking a backstage tour to get a new perspective on the dazzling lights of show business. Your VIP pass is the Grand Ole Opry House Guided Backstage Tour in Nashville.

Attend one of the broadcasts to join in the fun. To guarantee your seat and free parking at the neighboring Opry Mills Mall, purchase your Grand Ole Opry Show Admission Ticket in Nashville in advance. Consider taking a backstage tour to get a new perspective on the dazzling lights of show business. Your VIP pass is the Grand Ole Opry House Guided Backstage Tour in Nashville.

2. Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

In the heart of downtown sits the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The tall windows of this remarkable structure elegantly imitate piano keys.

A multi-media display featuring historical performances, costumes, instruments, gold records, and memorabilia may be found at the museum. A Cadillac once owned by Elvis Presley, a gigantic 40-foot guitar, a tour van, and a recording booth are among the other features. There are also guided tours of the neighboring historic RCA Studio B.

Take a self-guided tour of the museum with audio support from celebrities like Dolly Parton. To record your own country music song, go to a replica of a tour bus.

3. Ryman Auditorium

Ryman Auditorium

The Grand Ole Opry’s home from 1943 to 1974 was the Ryman Auditorium, which is still used to host broadcasts of the famed radio show. The Ryman, which first opened its doors in 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle, now hosts regular performances of classical and bluegrass music, musical theater, and television events.

The Ryman is dubbed the “Carnegie Hall of the South” by many. The theater, which is right off Honky Tonk Row, has a museum with displays about the city’s rich musical history. There are both guided and self-directed tours available. In the Air Castle Studio, try your hand at making your own album. Backstage visits are possible, but they must be reserved in advance to avoid disappointment.

4. Make the Scene in Downtown Nashville

Downtown Nashville at night

Every city has regions that have become popular tourist destinations. Midtown is in Manhattan, Little Havana is in Miami, and Downtown Nashville is in Nashville.

The Ryman Auditorium, Honky Tonk Row, museums honoring well-known country music musicians such as Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, as well as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, are all located in Downtown Nashville. In this neon-lit zone, where live country music wafts out into the street, Broadway is the epicenter of nightlife.

You are walking in the footsteps of the city’s past while strolling around Downtown Nashville and visiting its modern tourist attractions. At Fort Nashborough, near the banks of the Cumberland River, evidence of the early settlers can be found. From the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, the views in Downtown Nashville include landmarks.

Consider paying a visit to the Patsy Cline Museum, which is located upstairs. View this talented country music star’s videos, memorabilia, and personal belongings. Her career as a country music star came to a tragic end when she was only 30 years old, when she was killed in a car accident.

5. Learn about the Man in Black at Johnny Cash Museum

Johnny Cash Museum |

Johnny Cash, also known as the “Man in Black,” had a difficult existence that he overcame to win the Grammy Award 17 times and become one of country music’s most beloved stars. In downtown Nashville, there is a museum dedicated to him.

The museum’s exhibits include handwritten lyrics for two of Cash’s most renowned songs, “Folsom Prison Blues” and “I Walk the Line,” which are among the 1,500 songs he recorded. The artwork and melodies of Johnny Cash are on display. There is also a museum store where mementos can be purchased.

Consider paying a visit to the Patsy Cline Museum, which is located upstairs. View this talented country music star’s videos, memorabilia, and personal belongings.

6. Belle Meade Historic Site

Belle Meade Historic Site 

The Belle Meade Mansion was built in 1845 in the Greek-Revival style and is surrounded by the ruins of an antebellum plantation. Union and Confederate forces fought on the front lawn of the mansion during the two-day Civil War Battle of Nashville in 1864. The massive stone columns still bear the scars of gunfire.

There are guided tours available, including one that tells the history of the estate through the eyes of the slaves who were compelled to work and live here. At Belle Meade, you can participate in one of the culinary experiences or seasonal programs. The plantation’s stables, gardens, and grounds are all worth seeing. If time permits, stop by the House Restaurant, which is a popular hangout.

7. Groove in Glorious Gardens at Gaylord Opryland Resort

Waterfall and tropical gardens at the Gaylord Opryland Resort

The Gaylord Opryland Resort’s most recognized asset is its collection of 50,000 tropical plants, many of which are rare worldwide types. You don’t have to be a guest to appreciate it. This amazing show, located on nine acres of indoor space and nurtured by 20 full-time horticulturists, is a visual and aromatic feast.

The Garden Conservatory houses one-fifth of the collection, which includes palm and banana trees that are 60 feet tall. Because these plants were so tall, they had to be put before the glass-topped atrium could be built.

More than 8,000 tropical ornamentals were chosen for the Cascades Atrium from Florida. There’s a 40-foot palm tree and ginger shrubs that are as tall as a man.

The third huge garden, Delta Atrium, welcomes you into a subtropical plant zone that you can explore aboard a delta flatboat. Make a wish while passing beneath the Wishing Banyan tree. More than 100 palm trees, banana trees, gardenias, and camellias, as well as black olive trees and mahoganies dripping with Spanish moss, are among the exotics on display. The entry to the Delta Mansion, which is graced by two 40-foot Southern magnolias, is a sight to behold.

8. Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president, lived at the Hermitage. The estate is one of Nashville’s most beautiful sites. The Hermitage, which is 16 miles outside downtown, was erected in 1819 and restored 25 years later following a devastating fire.

Visitors to the Hermitage get a sense of what it was like for Jackson to reside here from 1837 until 1845. A museum with exhibits about Jackson’s private and public lives is housed in the estate.

Take a tour of the property with a professional guide. The grounds are well-kept and include Jackson’s and his wife’s gravesites. Visit the neighboring Tulip Grove Mansion, which was once the home of Emily and Andrew Jackson Donelson’s family.

9. Nashville Parthenon

The Nashville Parthenon

Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president, lived at the Hermitage. The estate is one of Nashville’s most beautiful sites. The Hermitage, which is 16 miles outside downtown, was erected in 1819 and restored 25 years later following a devastating fire.

Visitors to the Hermitage get a sense of what it was like for Jackson to reside here from 1837 until 1845. A museum with exhibits about Jackson’s private and public lives is housed in the estate.

Take a tour of the property with a professional guide. The grounds are well-kept and include Jackson’s and his wife’s gravesites. Visit the neighboring Tulip Grove Mansion, which was once the home of Emily and Andrew Jackson Donelson’s family.

See the renowned landmark of Nashville, a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, if you’re looking for one of the finest free things to do in Nashville. The original was made of wood in 1897 to mark the state’s first century and is located in Centennial Park, a short walk west of the city center. Cement is used to construct the current full-scale reproduction of the original Greek temple.

The Parthenon houses a permanent art collection of 63 pieces by American painters from the 19th and 20th centuries. Admire the gold-leafed model of the goddess Athena Parthenos, which stands 42 feet tall. Replicas of the famous Parthenon Marbles from the 5th century BCE are also on show.

10. RCA Studio B

RCA Studio B 

Music Row includes RCA Studio B, which is located near Music Square. The heart and soul of the country’s music business is here, and RCA Studio B is the most well-protected historic site. Starting in 1957, the “house of 1,000 hits” thrived for roughly 15 years.

This studio is credited with giving rise to the distinctive “Nashville sound” that defined so many great hits in the 1950s and 1960s. While the studio closed in 1977, the location is now used as a training facility. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which owns RCA Studio B, organizes planned tours for visitors.

11. Visit Exotic Friends at Nashville Zoo

Southern White Rhinoceros at the Nashville Zoo

The Nashville Zoo is a fantastic place to take kids. Explore Africa’s plains, South America’s rainforests, and Asia’s diverse wildlife. Clouded leopards, Baird tapirs, toucans, and Sumatran tigers are among the nearly 3,000 animals from 350 species on display. The animals at the Nashville Zoo live in habitats that are replicas of their natural habitats.

You can visit an aviary and be surrounded by more than 50 Australian parrots at Lorikeet Landing. Ride the Wild Animal Carousel and the Wilderness Express Train at the zoo. On the zoo’s big Jungle Gym, where they slide, swing, climb, crawl, and explore, kids intuitively know what to do. The Soaring Eagle Zip Line will elevate your zoo experience to new heights.

12. Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

The luxurious 55-acre Cheekwood Estate and Gardens is a refuge of tranquility and grace. On a sunny day, this lovely park-like environment provides a peaceful retreat. The Cheekwood’s commitment to the arts and preservation is exemplified through contemporary art galleries in the old home.

Step out onto the Sculpture Trail after your indoor tour of the home and the Cheekwood collection to see artfully designed sculptures like “The Glass Bridge for Nashville.” Admire the variety of garden designs and inspirations, as well as the variety of trees and shrubs, particularly when they are in bloom.

13. Make a Recording at Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum

Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum

The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, which commemorates the musical heroes who helped create the stars, is not to be confused with the Country Music Hall of Fame. Nashville, Motown, Muscle Shoals, New York, Los Angeles, and recording studios are all represented by these skilled session musicians. These are the guys who made the hits happen, along with their instruments. That’s why the presentation of studios, stages, and guitars is so important at this 30,000-square-foot museum.

Take a look around the studio where Elvis Presley recorded singles like In the Ghetto. At the Hendrix exhibit, see the stage where young Jimi Hendrix performed, as well as one of his guitars. See Glen Campbell’s guitars, which he used as a session musician before becoming a star.

If you’re interested in the process that produces superstars of all kinds of music, this interactive museum is a great place to learn and experiment. You may test out everything here, from mixing music to trying out different instruments to creating your own recording.

14. Belmont Mansion

Belmont Mansion

The Belmont Mansion is Tennessee’s largest antebellum home, dating from the 1850s. It is regarded as one of the most opulent residences in the United States. Several of the original décor and furnishings have been kept in many of the rooms. The residence is designed in the manner of an Italian villa, with lavish gardens and outbuildings. Permanent art shows are also available at Belmont.

The historic magnificence of Belmont Mansion is complemented by furnishings, paintings, and original statues by American artists as you enter. After a guided tour, you are free to wander around the mansion on your own.

15. Tennessee State Museum

Belmont Mansion

The Belmont Mansion is Tennessee’s largest antebellum home, dating from the 1850s. It is regarded as one of the most opulent residences in the United States. Several of the original décor and furnishings have been kept in many of the rooms. The residence is designed in the manner of an Italian villa, with lavish gardens and outbuildings. Permanent art shows are also available at Belmont.

The historic magnificence of Belmont Mansion is complemented by furnishings, paintings, and original statues by American artists as you enter. After a guided tour, you are free to wander around the mansion on your own.

15. Tennessee State Museum

Tennessee State Museum

The Tennessee State Museum has a wealth of information about Tennessee’s social and natural past. This huge state-of-the-art museum, located adjacent to Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, encompasses an area of 137,000 square feet and conveniently handles the large collection of original antiques, interactive exhibits, and multi-media displays.

Artifacts connected to Tennessee’s role in the Civil War, such as period weapons and furniture, are among the museum’s broad collections. There’s also a sizable collection of artworks and paintings, as well as exhibits about musicians and music. A theater, an education and learning center, and an on-site gift shop are among the notable features that bring the state’s past to life.

16. View Vintage Cars at Lane Motor Museum

Lane Motor Museum

The Lane Motor Museum has a significant collection of automobiles, the most of which are from Europe, but there are also exhibits from Japan and the United States. The tiniest French-made minicar, with room for only one passenger and no need for a driver’s license, is included in the collection. Streamlined Adler coupes from the 1930s are among the historic cars on display. A 1964 folding scooter is among the motorcycles in the collection.

The museum is more than just a place to see cars. It’s a showcase for vehicles that have been restored to their original condition as closely as feasible. Buckminster Fuller, the designer of the geodesic dome, came up with this streamlined vehicle that appears like it could power an extraterrestrial.

17. Cruise on the General Jackson Showboat

The General Jackson Showboat cruising past Downtown Nashville

The General Jackson Showboat is a modern take on a traditional four-deck paddle-wheel steamship from the 1800s. While sailing down the Cumberland River, this showboat is a terrific way to get your country music fix.

If you’re seeking for entertaining things to do in Nashville at night, this relaxing adventure gives a unique perspective of the cityscape from the water. Passing beneath the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge is a highlight.

Book the General Jackson Showboat Lunch or Dinner Cruise in Nashville to make your planning easier. Southern food during a lunch or dinner cruise, onboard entertainment, and unrivaled vistas of Nashville and the Cumber

Where to Stay for Sightseeing in Nashville

Downtown Nashville has a country heart, and it’s here that first-time visitors should stay. Music venues, the historic 2nd Avenue, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, the world-famous Ryman Auditorium, and Printer’s Alley are all located in this region. Bridgestone Arena is located in the southern end of downtown. Some highly rated hotels in convenient areas are listed below:

Hotels of the highest Range

The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, built in a Beaux Arts edifice dating from 1908, is located near the State Capitol and offers a turn-of-the-century experience in grandeur.


The freshly rebuilt all-suite Hilton Nashville Downtown, located next to Bridgestone Arena and steps from Ryman Auditorium, has big rooms and may be an excellent choice for families.


The Omni Nashville Hotel is a short walk from the hip and busy Broadway Avenue and is fully integrated into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Hotels in the Mid-Range:

The majority of mid-range hotels are located around Vanderbilt University, which is about two miles southwest of downtown on Broadway Avenue. The Parthenon historical landmark, a full copy of the old Greek Athenian Temple, is located in this pleasant neighborhood. The Homewood Suites Nashville Vanderbilt is ideal for families because it has full kitchens. There is an indoor pool at this hotel.
The Home2 Suites by Hilton, which is located in the same region and offers similar amenities, is another all-suite choice.
Standard accommodations are available at the Hilton Garden Inn Nashville/Vanderbilt, which also offers a complimentary shuttle service to downtown attractions. There is an indoor pool at this hotel.

Budget Range Hotels

The region near the airport is a good place to stay if you’re on a budget. It’s a seven-mile straight trip along Interstate 40 from the downtown attractions. The Red Roof PLUS+ Nashville Airport, which has just been remodeled, offers comfortable accommodations as well as a shuttle service to and from the airport.

The Sleep Inn, which is a few miles away and has an outdoor pool, is a good option.

The La Quinta Inn & Suites Nashville Airport is located directly across the street and offers basic rooms and an outdoor pool at a reasonable price. A good assortment of chain restaurants surrounds both hotels.

How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Nashville with Tips and Tours

Sightseeing in the City:

You can select between a morning or afternoon departure for the half-day Discover Nashville trip, which covers all of the city’s biggest sights in 3.5 hours, depending on your schedule. The schedule includes visits to Music Row, Riverfront Park, and the Tennessee State Capitol, as well as entry to Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Choose a Nashville Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour if you like to go at your own pace. This convenient option allows you to stop wherever you choose and spend as much time as you like touring popular landmarks such as Music Row, Centennial Park’s Parthenon, and Vanderbilt University, all while listening to interesting commentary from your guide.

Choose the one-hour Best of Nashville City Tour on a Double Decker Bus if you’re on a tight schedule or just want to get your bearings at the start of your vacation to Music City. This tour will take you through 100 of the city’s most famous sights and attractions while providing live commentary from your driver.

Tour by Helicopter:

In the Helicopter Tour of Downtown Nashville, soar above the skyscrapers and crowds on Honky Tonk Row while scanning the city like an eagle. During the 15-minute journey, you will learn about Nashville from your pilot while riding in your own whirlybird.

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